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Laundry

Does this laundry detergent alternative actually work?

Tru Earth Eco-Strips are a plastic-free way of doing laundry

Tru Earth Eco-Strips Credit: Tru Earth

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We like to stay on the cutting edge of the latest in the laundry and cleaning world. So when we started receiving dozens of reader questions about Tru Earth Eco-Strips, essentially a dryer sheet–type alternative to liquid laundry detergent, we decided to give these laundry detergent strips a try.

Would they really clean? Are they as eco-friendly as advertised? In the midst of updating our roundup of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents, we put them to the test with a 32-pack of linen-scented strips.

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What are Tru Earth Eco-Strips?

Tru Earth Eco-Strips are an alternative to liquid or pod detergent known as laundry strips. Out of the box, they look and feel like thin foam sheets. They’re made up of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), so the biodegradable laundry strips completely dissolve in water.

For medium-sized loads, you can tear the strip in two.
Credit: Tru Earth

For medium-sized loads, you can tear the strip in two.

Ideal for sensitive skin, they are dye-, phosphate-, and chlorine-free. They’re also vegan and cruelty free. They have a little fragrance in a fresh linen scent.

Because they are low-sudsing, these laundry strips work in standard and high-efficiency washing machines. You can rest assured they’ll dissolve completely in cold water. A complete ingredient list can be found on the company’s website.

When you open the envelope the strips come in, you’ll find laundry sheets that are 6-by-3 inches, perforated down the middle. Tear them in half and you’ll have enough for a medium-sized load of laundry. In comparison, that’s a lot less thanthe Life laundry sheets we tested.

Do Tru Earth Eco-Strips clean well?

At Reviewed, we have done a lot of detergent testing in our labs. We’ve tested everything from dish soap to eco-friendly detergents. Our method of testing laundry detergent revolves around swatches of cloth that have been mechanically dyed in substances like sweat, pig’s blood, and oil.

We washed special stain strips with Tru Earth and then scanned them.
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

We washed special stain strips with Tru Earth and then scanned them.

When we analyzed the stain strips after washing them with Tru Earth laundry strips, we found that these laundry detergent strips performed really well. They removed about 63.7% of our testing stains. That might sound low, but our strips are designed to never get completely clean—otherwise, you’d never be able to differentiate between products.

That stain-removal performance places Tru Earth in line with products like Seventh Generation Free & Clear, one of the best eco-friendly laundry detergents we’ve ever tested, and the Laundress Sport Detergent.

Are Tru Earth products eco-friendly?

One of the major selling points of Tru Earth laundry strips is how eco-friendly they are. But are they really? The short answer is yes. Researching the ingredients, we found that 70% are either plant-derived or biodegradable.

We also made note of how the Tru Earth packaging is plastic-free. It comes in a cardboard envelope that’s both recyclable and biodegradable. And at just 0.3 inches tall, the entire package is small enough to fit in a mailbox, which also reduces storage needs.

The 32-load variant weighs about 2.5 ounces, about 30 times less than a traditional 50-ounce bottle. Removing all the water that makes up a significant mass of liquid detergents greatly reduces transportation costs.

How much do Tru Earth Eco-Strips cost?

The package we purchased cost around $15 for 32 loads, or 46 cents per load. That’s 25% more per load than the average price we found for Tide PurClean.

Who should buy this?

After spending a few weeks with Tru Earth Eco-Strips, we can clearly see two categories of people who would benefit from them: parents and those who live in tiny homes or apartments.

Parents who are looking for a safer alternative to detergent pods can rest assured that these strips do not look like candy, and they have no risk of bursting and leaking. They are also much easier to transport than a traditional bottle of laundry soap. They can be crumpled, punctured, and bent with no risk to you or the product.

In places where space is at a premium, detergent sheets are the way to go. A typical 32-load bottle of detergent stands about 10 inches tall—you could fit roughly 400-loads' worth of Tru Earth strips in that space.

Should you buy Tru Earth Eco-Strips?

Our testing showed that Tru Earth performed around the same as Seventh Generation Free & Clear.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Our testing showed that Tru Earth performed around the same as Seventh Generation Free & Clear.

As a detergent, Tru Earth laundry strips rank in the top third of those we've tested. It delivers on its promise of providing good cleaning power and being environmentally sound. The Eco-Strips are pretty pricey, though.

We expect Tru Earth to become more popular as time goes on and consumers continue looking for plastic-free alternatives. Hopefully, the costs will come down as the quality remains the same.

If you’re interested in trying a more eco-friendly detergent, worried about the energy costs of transportation, or have limited space, Tru Earth Eco-Strips are totally worth checking out.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.